Google+ is upon us and brings a new and exciting social media tool to explore. I’ve had the opportunity to sign up as one of the field testers for Google+ last week. If you haven’t already you can signup for an invite at plus.google.com. As Google opens up the ability to invite new users I have been getting many questions from people about how to use it and what it is.
I’m starting to see some excellent advice and tips being shared across the internet and on Google+ but wanted to use this space to get down to the basics of Google+. After all, we’re all new users!
When you first join Google+ and if you’re not a Google Account holder already you will be asked to fill out your profile. I suggest you make this as complete as possible. Having a complete profile will allow other Google+ users be able to find you and you will also show up on regular Google searches. Think of it as your Twitter bio, Facebook Profile or blog ‘About Page’.
Once you’ve completed your profile you can make changes at any time by clicking the ‘Edit Profile’ button and simply clicking the area you would like to change, you can also set features such as search visibility and who can see your circles from this section.
You will see Google+ ‘Settings‘ at the top right hand corner of Google+ this section allows you to set your requirements for Privacy, Notifications.
Making Connections with Circles
Once you sign up for Google+ you will start to see notifications telling you that people are adding you to their circles. This is the Google+ way of saying someone is following or ‘friending’ you.
To see who’s added you to their ‘Circles’ navigate to the link at the top of the page and click ‘Circles’. From there you can see who’s added you, who you have added and some suggestions of who you might want to add to your ‘Circles’. Simply drag and drop the people you want in your circles into the preset options or you can create more of your own.
To find people on Google+ there is a section at the top of the ‘Circles’ page that will display a list of people. You can add people simply by dragging to the appropriate Circle. As more people sign up for Google+ you will see new faces on this page every day.
If you want to find out more about someone then hover your mouse over their name and a link to their profile will appear. Simply visit their profile and see if you want to start following them by adding them to a ‘Circle’.
The Google+ Stream
Your Google+ stream contains all your circles posts by default. You can select to only view the content of specific circles using the menu on the left hand side of the page.
Sharing on Google+
Sharing your content on Google+ is straightforward and similar to Facebook and Twitter. Where Google+ is different is you have more control over whom you send the updates to. By clicking +Add circles or people to share with you control who can and can’t see your content.
Google +1 Button
The Google +1 button is a social sharing button similar to the Facebook Like button or Retweet. By clicking this button friends of yours will see what you’ve recommended or +1’d.
Hangouts are video chats arranged through Google+. I see this as a great tool for small business looking to connect with clients and associates.
If you have a mobile phone Google+ will allow you to have group chats with your contacts on Google+. Think Blackberry Messanger. Huddle is available on the Android phone now and will be available shortly for the iPhone.
Feel Free to Connect
If you have signed up for Google+ feel free to connect with me or if you have a Google+ tip you’d like to share please leave a comment.